Video Editing and Publishing Tips
In the last blog article we discussed techniques on how to shot video in and out of your church. In this article we will be discussing what to do with that video, including video editing, video editing software, video formats, and embeding video into your web pages. So, get comfortable because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. ;)
Editing your video – Programs
Once you are finished shooting your video, whether you want to show it during a service, record it to DVD, or put it on your website, you are going to need to edit it. The editing process can fix a number of issues depending on the editing software you have at your disposal. You will be able to cut out your mistakes, fix the audio, and fix the color. Again some of these features may not come with your editing program.
I can hear some of you now… ”But I don’t have an editing program.” Well, no worries because there are a number of editing programs out there that you can get easily. Like the cameras they can range from free to $2,000. The more expensive ones come with more features that you can use to edit your video. If you’re thinking about going for the more expensive editing program ($500 and up) I would recommend these programs:
Final Cut Pro – One of the best editing programs out there, as well as one of the most versatile. Final Cut is very easy to learn, and there is a lot of material out there to help you learn. FC usually comes in a package deal that has a DVD authoring program (DVD Studio Pro) and 3 other very cool programs. The only downfall is the FC is strictly Macintosh/Apple based. So, unless you have a MAC computer this editing program won’t work for you. More on Final Cut
Adobe Premier Pro – Adobe Premier is a very easy program to learn and there is a lot of material out there to help you learn. Adobe Premier is PC based so unlike Final Cut you will need a PC for this program. Adobe Premier is usually the cheapest of the 3 but Final Cut is giving them a run for their money. You can get Premier in a bundle like Final Cut or by itself. More on Adobe Premier
Avid Express– Avid can do just about anything you want but it is harder to learn and usually the most expensive. Avid is both PC and MAC based. More on Avid
Now for some editing programs that are in a more affordable price range. (Free to $400)
Pinnacle Studio – In my opinion this is one of the better cheaper editing programs out there. What is cool about Pinnacle is it has built in DVD Authoring and burning and Instant Transfer to DVD. So you can put your sermons and video right to DVD, and it’s very easy. The 3 programs above require another program to put your content onto DVD but Pinnacle doesn’t. Pinnacle has templates for a DVD menu that you just drag your video into. The downfall of Pinnacle is that you can’t really create custom menus. Also, Pinnacle just happened to be owned by Avid. More on Pinnacle Studio
Windows Media Encoder – WME is a nice free program that is limited in its editing capabilities but has preset for exporting to the web built in. This is a PC only program and it requires a “Genuine Microsoft Windows Validation”, which means they want to check to see if you have a real version of Windows running and not a hack/stolen version. More on Windows Media Encoder
Free Editing Software – There are a number of free editing programs out there so the best way for me to cover them and get on with this blog is to provide you with a link to the top 7 editing software.
Editing your video – Editing Techniques
Once you have the editing software of your choice you are ready to start editing. You are going to have to hook your camera up to your computer so that you can “Capture” your video. To do this your will need to plug in your camera using either a USB plug or an IEEE 1394 FireWire cable. One of those two cables should have come with your camera. First, plug in your camera and then turn it on. You might get a prompt to open a program, if you see your editing program choose it. If nothing happens, open you’re editing program. Because every editing program is different I can’t go over how to capture your video, you are going you have to read the directions for that.
Once you have your video captured you’re going to need to isolate the good clips and place them in your timeline for editing. Place the clips in the order that you want and put them flush against each other. Then place what is called a “Cross Dissolve” transition between the two clips. This will dissolve/blend the two clips together so it doesn’t just cut between clips. This will make your video flow smoothly and not make your audience wonder what is going on. I recommend using the cross dissolve as your main transition. There are a number of other transition and effect that you can use but try and stay consistent. Using 6 different types to transitions screams amateur and will pull the focus to the crazy effects and away from the intended purpose of the video. Now, having said that, if you have a funny, goofy, or a wacky video that needs that little bit of over the top effects to make it that much more funny you can use the coolest transitions your editing program has to offer. One Last note on for when your editing your video…Save, Save, SAVE! Always save your project when you have the chance. I don’t know how many time I have been working on a video and thought I was alright because I save the project not to long ago. Well, you can do a lot of editing in “not to long” so when your program crashes or freezes and you loose have your project…don’t say I didn’t warn you. Save every chance you get! There’s no such thing as “over saving.”
Compress your video for the Web
Now you’re ready to put your video on the web. Here is where things get tuff. There are a number of file formats that you can choose to export your video as. The 3 most popular are AVI, WMV (Windows Media Video) and QuickTime. You can ask 5 different people what their opinion is about the 3 most popular formats for the web and you will get 5 different answers. The truth is all 3 formats are great for the web. They all compress the video to a file small enough but still clear enough for the web. With each of these formats you can compress them in many different ways, which will essentially change the quality and file size. So, to say that on is better that the other is hard to do.
Now, having worked with web video a lot I have to say that I have had fewer problems with WMV and AVI than with Quicktime, so I tend to stick with those 2. But I do have problems playing the WMV and AVI on Mac/Apple computers sometimes. For some reason Mac’s don’t like those 2 files, though Quicktime was created by and for Mac’s so that says something. My suggestion is to play around and see what size and quality you like. You can export your video as an AVI and bring it into Windows Media Encoder and play around with the preset web settings until you find a size and quality you like. Video compression is like buying a car, there are so many colors and types out there you won’t know which you like until you try it. A video size of 320px by 240px is a nice size to compress your video at. If you want a smaller or larger video feel free to change the sizes but make sure you keep the aspect ratio proportionate or your video will look squished or stretched.
Putting it on the Web
Regardless of the video format you chose at this point you are now ready to upload your video to your site. For those of you who have your website hosted at OurChurch.Com, here’s a link for help concerning uploading/FTPing.
Whether you’re building your own site using OurChurch.Com’s Beacon web builder or using a program such as Dreamweaver or Frontpage you can embed your video right into the page you want it. The CIT or Center for Instructional Technology has a nice site that will give you the HTML code you will need to put into your page. Simply follow this link and click on the icon of file type you have decided to use at the top of the page (If you choose AVI click on the Windows Media Icon). If you choose Quicktime select “A Web server”.
First choose your Sever path, which should be http://your_domain.com
Next enter the path to your file. If you built your site with OCC’s Beacon web builder, that will be /view/uploads/
Then pick your width and height, which is preset at 320×240, but can be changed to anything you want.
Finally, decide if you want your video to Start automatically, have the controls showing (The play, pause, stop, fast-forward, rewind, etc…), Loop playback so once it’s finished it will start again (I don’t recommend this because if drives the views insane and they will just leave your site if they cant stop your video.), and if you want it Left, Right, or Center aligned on your page.
Then click the “Submit” and your html code will pull up for you to copy and past into your page.
If you created your website using the Beacon web builder, login to your webmaster page and select the page you want your video to play on and past the html code into that page. If you’re using a program just paste the code where you want it.
You’re now ready to share your video with the world!
Got any thoughts, questions opinions on the software, formats, or techniques mentioned in this article? Post them in a comment.